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Should Houston Increase Its SXSW Footprint?

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Moran founded Seamus Productions in 1990, as a musical promotion company. He now works with authors and performers like Jello Biafra, Ira Glass, The Fabulous Thunderbirds and David Sedaris. He's also a 23-year veteran of SXSW, meaning he's attended the festival every single year since its inception in 1987. About two months ago, he contacted the Mayor's office with the goal of bringing to their attention the importance of the festival in the development of the music and entertainment industries in Houston and to Houston's visibility around the world.

"I think they might have been a little bit unaware that this huge festival was right down the road," he said. "Houston could really benefit from this."

Moran cited a number of traits about Houston that many people, even its own residents, are unaware of -- that, for example, we're home to the largest medical center in the world, the Texas Medical Center (left).

"I didn't know that Houston has over 90 consulates," he said. "Did you? And people can play golf here in December. My friends who golf really love that."

If Moran had his way, the City would find sponsorship for a huge multimedia showcase that would act as a mini-embassy for Houston for the festival's duration. Moran cited the British Embassy party at SXSW that in its first year drew six attendees from United Kingdom and now draws around 6,000.

Moran also talked about Texas' image outside of the state and the country. At SXSW this year he met a group of young British college students who were on their first trip to the United States - their university had sent them to Austin, and they didn't want to go back home.

Moran, who is Canadian, felt the same before he moved here. "They told me there was ice in the tea and I thought 'It's just gonna be awful!'" But, he says, this city is reaching a kind of critical mass in terms of national attention.

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Shey is an experienced blogger, social media expert and traveler. She studied journalism at Oklahoma State University before working as a full-time reporter for Houston Community Newspapers in 2005. She lived in South Korea for three years, where she worked as a freelancer.
Contact: Brittanie Shey